I-Liq Chuan (ILC) is an internal Chinese martial art system based on principles of Zen (禪) and tai chi (太極). Literally translated, the name means "mind-body fist" or alternatively "mental-physical boxing." I-Liq Chuan is often referred to as the "Martial Art of Awareness" due to its emphasis on mindfulness training as the foundation for achieving martial skill. Training in the art improves mental focus, calms the mind, improves balance, heightens body awareness, and develops naturally powerful and graceful movement.
I-Liq Chuan originated in Malaysia and was the family art of the Chin family. The founder of the art, Grandmaster Chin Lik-Keong (曾力強), studied several martial arts. The three arts with the largest influence on the development of ILC were Lee style (Sifu Lee Kam Chow), Phoenix Eye, and Feng Yang Lu Yi. The last art is sometimes also referred to as Lu Yie Pa Kua, Hsing-I Pa Kua, or Liew Mun Pai (nomadic clan art); this nomadic art was originally a hidden art meant for protection on the open roads and not taught openly.
During his research, the grandmaster dissolved the arts he previously learned into basic movements in accordance with the nature of the human structure. He coalesced his research into a new style. The new art was sufficiently distinct that he was uncomfortable with classifying it under any of the previous arts. Instead, the grandmaster chose to name the art I-Liq Chuan.
Grandmaster Chin Lik Keong formed the Malaysian I-Liq Chuan association in 1976 and has been teaching the art in Malaysia. He passed the art on to his son, Master Sam F.S. Chin, who now lives in New York and graciously shares the art with practitioners in the U.S. and internationally.
I-Liq Chuan training includes two parts: unifying the self and unifying with a partner/opponent. Initially, training focuses more on the unification of the self via solo exercises and the 21 and butterfly forms to develop the foundation of body awareness and an understanding of basic body mechanics. As the ILC practitioner gains more proficiency in maintaining body unity, progressively more partner exercises (spinning and sticky hands drills) are incorporated into training to develop an ability to harmonize with an opponent.
Mindfulness training is prevalent in all phases of the training, even in the martial aspects of the partner training. Higher levels of skill and understanding depend on the practitioner being able to be perceive the conditions of the moment in order to flow and harmonize. In addition to establishing unified body movement, ILC training also incorporates meditative practice to train mental focus.
Johnny Kuo, Ph.D. is a certified I-Liq Chuan instructor studying under Master Sam F.S. Chin. His previous martial arts experience includes Chen style Taijiquan under Lipyeow Lim and Grandmaster Zhu Tiancai while finishing his graduate studies at Duke University. While at Duke, he helped run the Duke Taijiquan Club and was head instructor for the club for 2 years. In 2005, Johnny began his I-Liq Chuan training under Sifu Chin. Since then, he has focused his training on ILC and has been teaching the art since 2007 in Pennsylvania.